“Because they are unemployed, because they want to consume, or simply because they wish to take advantage of the high tide, the Portuguese, are selling what they have at home, sometimes what’s been there for generations.” So reports Lisbon magazine Visão on the current national craze for selling gold. Currently standing at €34 per gramme, gold has tripled in value in the last five years, growing 30% in 2010 alone, and prompting an increase number of businesses selling the precious. The National Mint reports that 709 new requests, mainly to retail gold, were made in 2010, up 150% since 2008. However, complaints are multiplying that the gold market is a new Wild West, with little legislation, and many tax loopholes. The unemployed and those most under pressure with the country’s failing economy are the most exploited, the magazine reports. Many are selling family heirlooms for the paltry sum of €18 euros per gramme. “This is only comparable to the real estate boom of 1995 to 2002, when it was even more profitable than drug trafficking," jokes a senior at ASAE, a division of the national police.
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